How to Install Weatherstripping

Types of Door and Window Weatherstripping

By Mark J. Donovan

One way to keep your home warmer this winter is to check and/or install weatherstripping around your doors and windows. Weatherstripping seals the gaps around doors and windows to prevent warm air from escaping your home. Your doors and windows may already have weatherstripping built into them; however the weatherstripping can become permanently compressed or damaged. And in some cases, the weatherstripping may only be working around a portion of the door or window frame.

In these situations you can find a variety of weatherstripping choices from any home improvement store and either replace the old weatherstripping or augment what is already on the door or window frame.

To check if the existing weatherstripping is not functioning properly feel around the edges of the door or window with your hand. If you feel cold air coming through, then you know you have a weatherstripping problem.

After identifying where the drafts are coming in around your door and windows, it is now time to consider the type of weatherstripping for your specific situation.

Types of Weatherstripping

Foam Weatherstripping

The most prevalent type weatherstripping and easiest to install is foam weatherstripping. Foam weatherstripping has an adhesive on the back of it. All you need to do is cut it to length, remove the paper that exposes the sticky surface, and apply it to the door or window frame. When the door closes or the window shuts the weatherstripping compresses and forms an airtight seal. Foam stripping typically has a limited life of a few years, so you will need to regularly check it to make sure the foam does not remain compressed when the door or window are opened. If it does stay compressed, then it is time to replace it again.

Felt Weatherstripping

Felt weatherstripping is very similar to foam weatherstripping. You simply cut it to length and then tack it to the door or window frame with brads. Felt weatherstripping can also be found with an adhesive backing.

Spring Metal Strips

Spring metal strips are frequently used around doors. They are available in a number of metal type finishes and come in either long strips or rolls.

Door Weatherstripping for keeping your home draft-free and warmer.

They attach to the sides of the door frame with small nails (brads). Spring metal strips are a more durable type of weatherstripping compared to the foam weatherstripping.

There are also metal strips that come with an adhesive backed surface. These are a little easier to install as again all you need to do is remove the paper backing off the adhesive coating and then press the metal strip up against the doorframe.

Interlocking Metal strips

Interlocking metal strips come in two sections. One part fits on the door or window frame and the other on the door or window itself. When they come in contact with each other, they compress together to form a tight seal. Interlocking metal strips require some patience and installation skill as close alignment work is required.

Vinyl Inserts

As what is typically used on portable air conditioners, accordion shaped vinyl inserts are another type of weatherstripping. They are used for filling gaps in larger openings.


With larger spaces or uneven spaces it is best sometimes to use exterior grade door and widow caulk. Typical areas for using caulk are around exterior door and window frames, e.g. where clapboards butt up against the side of the frame, and around vent pipes and fan assemblies.

Room Addition Bid Sheet

To install caulk, just cut the end of the tube at a 45 degree angle, puncture the inside seal of the caulk tube with a long nail, and then insert it into a caulking gun. Then simply compress the plunger and apply a bead of caulk around the door/window frame or vent tube.

For help on building a home addition, see’s Home Addition Bid Sheets. Our Home Addition Bid Sheets provide you with the knowledge and information on how to plan a home addition project, and what to look for when hiring contractors. They also include detailed cost breakdown tables and spreadsheets for estimating your own new home addition building costs.

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